VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Friday that the coronavirus pandemic had “toppled the shaky pillars” of a world economic model built on the idolatry of money and domination by the rich and powerful.
In a message to participants of the annual European House-Ambrosetti Workshop, which gathers some 200 top managers, economists, and politicians from around the world, he called for new models that would be more inclusive and reduce social inequality.
He also urged “an ecological retooling” of the economy to save the environment and reduce wasteful consumption.
“It (the pandemic) has called into question the scale of values that sets money and power over all else,” he said.
“It has toppled the shaky pillars that supported a certain model of development,” he said, adding that social and economic uncertainties had made many people open their eyes to inequality and environmental blight.
He said economics should be the expression of a society that “refuses to sacrifice human dignity to the idols of finance (and) uses financial resources not to dominate but to serve”.
Francis, who has said any eventual COVID-19 vaccine must not be hoarded by rich countries, is believed to be preparing an encyclical letter – the highest form of papal writing – on what he believes the post-pandemic world should look like.
The event, which takes place in the northern lakeside town of Cernobbio each September, is Italy’s version of the annual Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland. This year, it is taking place mostly virtually because of the pandemic.
Apart from a host of Italian ministers, participants include French President Emmanuel Macron, 2016 U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former U.S. national security advisor John Bolton.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Frances Kerry)